Etihad Aviation Group and its equity airline partners will support almost 425,000 jobs and are expected to contribute US$3.6 billion GDP to the African economy in 2016, as Abu Dhabi becomes a key hub for business travel both into and out of the continent.
A report released by leading international research organisation Oxford Economics Group reveals that EAG and its partners make a substantial contribution to economic prosperity in Africa and throughout the global economy providing vital connections between leading commercial centres and emerging markets.
EAG and its partners will deliver a core economic contribution of US$1.1 billion and a tourism contribution of US$2.5 billion, said the report. In turn, they will support 117,000 jobs through core operations, with another 308,000 jobs supported through the tourism contribution.
In 2016, Etihad Airways operates services to 117 passenger and cargo destinations around the world, and is expected to carry 19 million passengers on over 100,000 flights, among which almost 8,300 flights will be to and from Africa serving some 1.1 million passengers in the continent.
Since launching its first service to Egypt in 2004, Etihad Airways has expanded its operations across the African continent with the opening up of outstations in a further eight countries including South Africa, Morocco, Libya, Sudan, Kenya, Nigeria, Uganda and Tanzania.
The core contribution of US$1.1 billion includes the impact of EAG’s global operations, its capital spending in Africa, and the operational impact of its partners. Among this, EAG’s global operations alone will make a US$400 million contribution to the economy and sustain 39,700 jobs in 2016, mainly through purchases of products and services from African-based suppliers.
James Hogan, President and Chief Executive Officer of Etihad Aviation Group, said: “Many jobs across the supply chain in hotels, ground transport companies, freight forwarders, catering, manufacturing, and throughout the tourism industry, all benefit from the presence of the Etihad Aviation Group, with suppliers in these sectors creating tremendous employment opportunities for emerging markets such as Africa.
“These contributions to economies in Africa are substantial. They are also an indication of the continued increase in travel into and out of Africa via our hub in Abu Dhabi, signalling the possibility for even more growth and prosperity across the continent in the future.”
The economic contribution of tourism facilitated by Etihad Airways and its partners is also quantified in the report. The spending of the 1.1 million international visitors carried into Africa on Etihad Airways and its partners’ flights in 2016 will leave a considerable economic footprint. This is estimated to contribute US$2.5 billion in GDP for the continent, supporting some 308,000 jobs. By 2024, the number of visitor arrivals carried into Africa by Etihad Airways and its partners is projected to rise to over 3.2 million. As a result, the GDP contribution grows to US$5.6 billion, sustaining 596,000 jobs in the continent’s economy.
In addition to the economic contribution, the report also recognises the positive economic impact of the air connectivity Etihad Airways and its partners bring to the continent. Together, Etihad Airways and its partners will provide a boost to African productivity equivalent to US$1.1 billion in 2016. This level of activity is equivalent to 72,200 jobs in the economy. The productivity boost rises to US$2.2 billion by 2024, equating to an estimated 145,000 jobs.
EAG was established in 2014 and comprises four business divisions – Etihad Airways, Etihad Engineering, Hala Group and Airline Equity Partners. The group owns minority investments in seven airlines: airberlin, Air Serbia, Air Seychelles, Alitalia, Jet Airways, Virgin Australia, and Swiss-based Darwin Airline, trading as Etihad Regional.
Mr Hogan said: “Our partners play a vital role in driving our business in Africa. Thanks to their networks and infrastructure, we have been able to service Africa more efficiently. Our investment in partner airlines has driven our growth around the world and in Africa.”